2014

The New Year is quickly approaching and many people will make resolutions that they may or may not keep. When I first entered 2013 my goal was to have a personal devotion time in addition to the daily Bible reading I had with my husband. It was great for the first couple of months, but slowly the days in between my personal readings grew longer until finally several months passed.

I don’t think I’m busier than anyone else, but I think I am more distracted. Other things grab my attention—Facebook, TV, shopping, etc. A quick look on Facebook can turn into two hours of nothing. I am so tired of wasting time, yet I continue to get drawn into it.

The other day I noticed that Christianbook.com had a clearance sale. Some of their Bible study materials were selling for 49 cents so I bought a few. My intention is to rekindle the passion I have for The Word because the fire that once burned in my heart has become a smoldering pile of ashes.

I felt that my trip to Nepal was a spiritual awakening for me. I didn’t realize that I had ventured so far away from God until He drew me back again. I think it’s our tendency to slowly move away from God and not even realize it.  We go to church, we participate in ministry, we do lots of good things, but our relationship with God is strained—it’s like being married and doing all the things married people do—buy groceries together, visit with friends, etc., but when they are alone they don’t even talk to each other in any meaningful way.

Today when my husband and I were reading through Revelations, we came across this passage:

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again…” (Rev. 3:1-3, NLT).

I had read these Bible verses many times before but this time it was like God was talking to me. I am like that wayward child—the prodigal daughter— but because He loves me, He is shaking me awake so I can realize how far I have strayed from Him.

I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with God—perhaps it is rich and full, and God doesn’t have to chastise you—this is a blessing. I am just thankful that God has not given up on me, and that He continues to draw me to Him even though I am a broken pot not worth keeping.

Buried in the ashes of my heart are bits of coal that can glow red when the proper material is introduced.  My deepest desire is to serve God and to know more about Him, and my goal is to read and study His Word more intentionally in the coming year—everything is possible with God.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

10 Suggestions

I really like to encourage people, especially those who are Christians. Keeping our focus on God can be difficult and it’s so easy to get discouraged. I think this list can be helpful (it’s not in any sort of order):

10 Suggestions for a Growing Christian:

  1. Read and study the Bible (Romans 12:1-2)
  2. Have a daily conversation with God (aka pray) (Matthew 26:41)
  3. Love others (John 13:34-35)
  4. Do not hold grudges or seek revenge (1 Peter 3:8-9)
  5. Worship God with other believers (Hebrews 10:25)
  6. Talk about Jesus and tell others what He has done for you (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  7. Learn from other believers (Titus 2:2-8)
  8. Ask God to change you every day so that you are more like Jesus (Ephesians 4:22-24)
  9. Be accountable for your actions (James 4:17)
  10. Encourage others (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

I realized that I was “slacking” on my Bible reading. I had gone from reading a chapter a night to reading only one section of the chapter (the part after the subheading). It started because I was tired one night, but then on subsequent nights I convinced myself that it was better to read only a small section so that I can concentrate on what I was reading.

An incident yesterday reminded me that I have to read more, not less. I need to keep sharpening my sword and strengthening my armor— this process cannot be neglected. How can I possibly be ready for spiritual warfare or to help someone in battle when my sword is dull and my armor is thin?  How about you? How are you doing?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Be steadfast

I ran today. I was hoping to run/jog about 9 miles. During my workout I kept thinking about the idea of being “steadfast.” I think of “steadfast” as sticking to something—even if you mess up, you keep going. First Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (NASB).

Even though the passage doesn’t refer to running, I can apply the basic principle—“be steadfast… knowing that your toil is not in vain”—to me this means, keep going… your hard work will result in something positive.  I applied the Scripture verse for running, but I can also use it for my Christian growth.  I have not become the Christian that I want to be yet. I might say something or do something that I will regret, but I have to give it to God and keep pressing forward.

Today I ran 10.25 miles—I read the Bible this morning and prayed.

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Be steadfast in all that you do.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Coconut Jam

The local Filipino store closed down over the weekend and I found out that they were selling everything at 50% off (even less if you personally know the owners). I bought a few items. When I came home I realized that I had two jars of Coconut Jam. Even though they had the same name, they were very different– one was super sweet and had the consistency of melted caramel while the other had the consistency of softened candle wax and tasted a little bland.

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If I only went by their labels, I would say they were the same product– Coconut Jam.  I thought about people who go to church every week– on the outside they look and talk like Christians, but on the inside they are very different. Then I thought about these two Scripture verses:

  • “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 7:21)
  • “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (Luke 11:35)

Just going to church and using the right words does not make someone a Christian. What is your reason for living? Who do you want to please? What motivates you? Shouldn’t the answer to these three questions be “God”? If your answer was something else and you claim to be a Christian, then please make sure you are really a Christian.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Rest

I am teaching four online courses right now. I am eagerly looking forward to our Christmas and New Year break, which starts on Wednesday. Although I will have a lot of assignments to grade in order to have a true break, I know I will have at least two weeks where I will have nothing to do. I just want rest. Even though I sleep I don’t feel rested, and even though I will have nothing to do for a little while, I do not think it will help me feel like I had rest.

Today I came across some passages about “rest.” It centered on chapter 4 in the book of Hebrews. The idea I got from it is that while we are on earth, there is no real rest. Our rest will come in the end when we are in the presence of God. While we are on this earth, we are to get as many people as we can to one day experience that rest– “For only we who believe can enter His rest” (Heb 4:3a).

Although I am looking forward to having rest, it will not be true rest– “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14). There will be troubles and calamities in this life, but the book of Romans tells us, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (Rom 5:3-4). I will experience rest one day, but until then, I will draw strength from God and ask Him to help me “rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment” (Jude 1:23) so they can have rest too.